State Board Report
The Institute for Justice, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and Cato Institute are continuing to support their limited government agenda, John Johnson, NASBA Director of Legislative and Governmental Affairs, told the Board and Society executives. “One of our best defenses to their limited government agenda is for the accounting profession to continue to advance the goal of uniformity in our statutes and rules throughout all 55 jurisdictions, to protect the public interest and promote high professional standards,” he said. In his monthly Legislative E-news (found on www.nasba.org), Mr. Johnson updates the legislative changes being seen throughout the country. Ten states had filed legislation that mirrored ALEC’s “Occupational Licensing Relief and Job Creation Act,” he reported at the March conference, but within less than a month that number had risen to 15 jurisdictions.
Mr. Johnson reported that the Institute for Justice found of 102 low- and moderate-income occupations licensed in the states, only 15 were licensed in 40 or more states – and accounting was one of them. The anti-regulation legislation being considered allows individuals to challenge in court professional regulation. It threatens to undermine the authority of regulatory boards, adds a new layer of review over the action of boards, threatens the elements of substantial equivalency, and could jeopardize both peer review and continuing professional education rules, he warned. Mr. Johnson will be leading breakout sessions on this topic at NASBA’s Regional Meetings in June.
This was a very active year for state legislatures for the accountancy profession, AICPA Vice President – State Regulatory and Legislative Affairs Mat Young observed. He told the conference that within the last year: four more states had adopted the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct; 11 had adopted the updated definition of “attest”; only Hawaii and CNMI have not adopted individual mobility; and 13 states are considering legislation that calls for active supervision of the boards as a result of the Supreme Court’s North Carolina Dental Board case decision.
“November was a game changer for marijuana legislation,” Mr. Young said, as more states adopted laws permitting recreational use of marijuana. This “increased the tension between what states want to do and what the federal government wants to do,” he remarked. Mr. Young said a number of Accountancy Boards have taken the position that an accountant providing services to the marijuana industry is not in itself an act discreditable, but the state reaffirms its right to take action against someone who is convicted.
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